Since the presidential election, media coverage has focused on the tasks President-elect Barack Obama faces, such as following through on his promise of change in the midst of such uncertain times.
I’m reminded of the criticism from his opponents: “This is not a time for on-the-job training.” They cited Sen. John McCain’s decades in the Senate and his military experience as the more appropriate background for leading the country. As I looked back on those frequent references to on-the-job training (OJT), I began to wonder about its organizational relevance today. When recruiting a leader, do you look for McCain- or Obama-like experience? How much value do you place on OJT for your organizational leaders?!@!
It also seems a leader’s image is critical to job performance, according to recent research from the Center for Creative Leadership. The study revealed that a strong image positively affects a leader’s perceived ability in areas such as strategic planning, leading change and inspiring commitment. So it seems image may come into play in leadership even more readily than we think. Can intangible assets such as image and vision supersede experience in organizational leadership?
This brings to mind the nature vs. nurture discussion that was such an important part of Psychology 101 in college. Is leadership something that can be taught, or are there innate forces at work? Do you believe some people are just naturally destined to take on leadership roles?
As Obama moves forward preparing for his new position, I’m curious if you have taken away any organizational lessons from the election season about your leaders and how they can be developed. Let me know in the comment section below.